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Sharky's Machine (1981)

Tom Sharky is demoted to vice after a bust goes terribly wrong. He and his team stumble across a mob murder tied to prostitution and government.



(novel), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Victor Scorelli
Lt. Friscoe
Donald Hotchkins
Billy Score
Joe Tipps
Hari Rhodes ...
Highball Mary
James O'Connell ...


Tom Sharky is a narcotics cop in Atlanta who's demoted to vice after a botched bust. In the depths of this lowly division, while investigating a high-dollar prostitution ring, Sharky stumbles across a mob murder with government ties, and responds by assembling his downtrodden fellow investigators (Sharky's "machine") to find the leaders and bring them to justice before they kill off all his partners and witnesses, including Sharky himself. Written by Unknown

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nobody leans on Sharky's Machine. [Theatrical] See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

18 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brigada Anti-Crime  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Duncan McNeill's film debut. See more »


When the killer shoots the shotgun through the door, the hole is jagged and oddly shaped, as it would be. Later, when the detectives are at the crime scene, the hole is perfectly round with smooth edges. See more »


Arch: Sharky, I hit his ass. He's got four bullets in him, and the fucker won't go down!
Sharky: Maybe he knows more about Zen than we do!
See more »


Before You
Performed by Sarah Vaughan and Joe Williams
by Cliff Crofford (as C. Crofford), John Durrill (as J. Durrill) & Snuff Garrett (as S. Garrett)
Miss Vaughan courtesy Pablo Records
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User Reviews

Dirty Harry Goes To Atlanta
18 December 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

That's how Burt Reynolds describes this film, which happens to be his best ever. He plays Tom Sharky, a vice detective who's on the trail of an international mobster (Vittorio Gassman) and the man he's financing to be the next governor of Georgia (Earl Holliman). In the novel by William Diehl, the story is more complex because the guy's running for president. This is a very long movie that feels more like three hours instead of two. The filming in downtown Atlanta and the Peachtree Plaza hotel sets the mood just right for the story. Reynolds doesn't do much laughing in this one compared to his comedy films. He's very serious here, especially in the beginning of the movie because he gets demoted for a dope bust that goes wrong. At times though, the movie plays more like a voyeuristic drama than a crime film with Burt trying to get close to the mobster's woman. Only towards the end of the film does the violence get cranked up that leads to the bang bang climax. Just like the great jazz score in DIRTY HARRY by Lalo Schifrin, Sharky's Machine features an excellent urban jazz soundtrack with many guest stars including Chet Baker, Julie London, Flora Purim & Buddy De Franco, The Manhattan Transfer, Doc Severinson, Sarah Vaughan and Joe Williams. Al Capps handles the score with magic. This movie has become one of the best crime dramas ever. Check it out.

Score, 8 out of 10 Stars

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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